The Disability Confident scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to a workplace. A key element of the accreditation is to show leadership, to challenge and to share best practice.
Three years ago, Sodexo made the grade because of the work it does to promote the recruitment, engagement and development of people with disabilities, a key commitment outlined in its Public Service Pledge.
Now it has had this renewed due to its ongoing commitment and further work. Disability inclusion is one of the five dimensions of Sodexo’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy and it has made a global commitment to ensuring all of its workforce will have access to programmes for people with disabilities by 2025.
All managers also undergo training around mental health and wellbeing and Sodexo encourages all its suppliers to show they are inclusive including in relation to disabled employees.
In 2020, Sodexo launched ‘A day without explanation – the future of disability inclusion?’ – a pivotal piece of research around the personal experiences of people who have lived experience of disability in work, and as customers of the types of services it provides. As part of its commitment to be a disability leader Sodexo shared these findings widely internally and externally.
Other initiatives Sodexo have implemented include:
- An Employee Assistance programme (Talk) which has a dedicated line for managers to gain guidance and support. This is run by an independent company.
- Continuing to partner with external organisations, such as Ways into Work, Foxes Academy and Project Search, and clients to support young adults with disabilities to develop employability skills and secure employment.
- Having over 150 trained mental health first aiders, acting as a “go-to” for colleagues in need of someone to talk to.
- Launching a counselling service for 6,000 Sodexo healthcare employees to help them deal with the pressures of working through the Covid-19 pandemic and the potential impact on their mental health. To date over 800 sessions have taken place.
Raj Jones, Head of Diversity. Equity and Inclusion, Sodexo, said:
“Inclusivity is key to our values and we are very proud that our Leader status on the government’s Disability Confidence scheme has been recognised and renewed for a further three years.
“We aim to make sure all our employees with a disability, can thrive and have put various programmes in place to ensure this. We also work hard to remove any barriers to those who may wish to apply to work at Sodexo. There will always be more to do, but we are pleased that the government has validated the work we are doing and the progress we have made.”
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